• JonathanTurner

Automation Anywhere Enterprise (AAE) 11.3.2 – 9/5/19

The release of 11.3.2 brings welcome improvements to the AAE suite, making the RPA marketplace even more competitive and the differentiation between vendors less clear cut. Essentially it is now even more difficult to pick which vendor to invest in.


11.3.2 isn’t just any update. It requires a complete uninstall and re-install (note though that this will not affect your configuration and existing bots), highlighting the number of goodies packed into the release. It’s what AAE calls its first globalisation release, with improvements made to the Citrix integration, and extra API capabilities for enterprise clients.


Globalisation and language localisation

AAE now offers localised languages, with support for languages such as Korean, French, and Spanish to name a few being released over the coming months. This is no reskin, AAE boast the language translation has transformed their application into a localised copy, even integrating with localised windows versions. A release schedule is listed below:


New shiny APIs

Application Programming Interfaces or APIs have been available for use to AAE customers, of which there were six different types. AAE has now added another five APIs for your own developers to integrate into other applications. These integrations are subject to role-based access control, satisfying that security itch that we all have. In short, the new APIs allow you to:

  • Pass arguments to a bot and receive them back – for instance, passing a number to SAP and obtaining another figure back from the system.

  • You can now obtain the bot status and its details (for example name, creator, time triggered etc.). These can be drawn out and passed into another system, for example for audit and compliance purposes. Furthering this API use, syntax and scripting guidelines can be checked to ensure consistency across your Centre of Excellence.

  • Scheduled activity can now be pulled into a reporting system, which is great for creating bespoke dashboards for your Business Information needs.

Interestingly third party API’s are now supported via SOAP / REST APIs, which broadens the scope of integration capabilities significantly. A very welcome addition!


Citrix

Citrix, one of the world’s largest desktop virtualisation providers, has proved challenging for the RPA sphere to crack. Usually, image-based recognition tools or screen scraping would be used to automate applications and desktops based in the Citrix environment, with varying degrees of success. A common route to automation is to install the enterprise client alongside the Citrix server as well as the apps being automated. However, this is not always feasible. AAE now offers a remote agent for Citrix, which enables object cloning where the application is on another machine, thereby acting as a proxy. A remote agent uses Citrix’s architecture ICA (Independent Computing Architecture), which is the limitation of data transfer between apps and the host server app. The protocol allows productive access to the application in question, with a significant speed boost over the usual methods used for Citrix automation. Of note, AAE state overtly this is not a back door into the Citrix environment, but a plugin that works alongside the hosted applications and environments. If you are utilising the xenDesktop VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure), the plugin is not supported yet.


Active Directory (AD)

AD Auto Discovery provides admin an alternative to auto discover domains. This feature can be utilised both at the installation stage and subsequently within the admin section of the Control Room. This further integration with AD allows control of developer and bot accounts to be completed within AD itself; fully integrating and allowing user login with windows credentials.


Other notable additions:

AAE now offers Security information and event management (SIEM) i.e. the collecting of logs and specific analysis - the data analyst’s dream! Utilising this BI data, integration with QRadar, Splunk, LogRythm, and Graylog comes as standard, allowing businesses to comply with compliance legislation such as ISO 270001 and FISMA.


OCR software that was previously separate to AAE suite, is now coupled with this. ABBYY OCR software comes bundled with AAE, keeping overall costs competitive, and simplifying the setup of the infrastructure.


The last thing I would like to mention is the choice of AAE to allow a developer to launch the website command with other browsers other than Internet Explorer. A small but very nice touch that many developers will be utilising due to the over-reliance on IE. Long live Chrome!


The Final Say

Overall the package itself offers a significant amount of change to AAE, with some significant steps in the right direction. The Citrix plugin is an indication of Automation Anywhere’s finger on the pulse in terms of the needs of large businesses. Let’s hope it becomes accepted practice quickly (I can see Citrix teams not accepting it initially). The API integration makes me very excited about what can be created in the back end utilising RPA. I do firmly believe the future lies in a combination of RPA and API use for those big data transfers. Especially given that RPA provides flexibility, transparency, and an agile approach to automation.